Over the last few months, Wenita has employed Water Ways Consulting principal ecologist Richard Allibone to undertake a project within the Wenita Estate, surveying what native fish are present in the streams and waterways.

Both the dusky galaxiid and the Eldons galaxiid have been found in streams within the Berwick and Maungatua Forests. Both these species of fish are rare and endangered. Their biggest threat is introduced fish species like brown trout and perch. If the introduced fish species get into the same waterways as the native fish, they will wipe out the population of native fish there. The reason we are finding a lot of native fish in streams within our estate, is because of the topography. There are many natural barriers like rock bluffs, waterfalls and perched culverts. Native fish have lived in these areas long before there were any forests, and having these barriers in place means they are safe from any introduced fish getting upstream and using them as a food source.

In April health, safety and environmental coordinator Willie Sinclair and Richard went around the Wenita estate, checking all culverts to see what type of fish were upstream and downstream of them, seeing if the culverts were in fact a barrier to predatory fish getting upstream. So far, there have been a small number of culverts found in the estate that are acting as barriers, and we’ll be identifying each of them with a sign warning to contact Wenita before excavating.